Posted by Northern Cheyenne Incident Command Center on Sunday, March 22, 2020

Native Sun News Today: Lawlessness and violence at Northern Cheyenne

Blamed on inadequate BIA Law Enforcement

LAME DEER, Montana - Within the past few months, four unsolved murders, several home invasions, the rise of bold drug operations in broad daylight on Cheyenne Avenue (Main Street in Lame Deer); the increased presence of intoxicated persons also hanging out in that area and finally the rise of various groups or gangs of young people who often have public altercations, underscore the point that the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, especially the major community, Lame Deer is dealing with a major increase in crime and lawlessness.

Jason Small, Northern Cheyenne Tribal member, state Senator and vice-chair of the Montana Legislative Tribal Relations Committee represents both the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Reservations. He has been researching the problem of inadequate law enforcement, affecting both reservations, and contacted this reporter to share some of his findings.

In tandem, on July 24, President Rynalea Pena with the concurrence of the Tribal Council wrote to the three members of the Montana Congressional delegation (Sen. Jon Tester, Sen. Steve Daines and Rep. Gregg Gianforte) requesting a formal inquiry with federal law enforcement regarding deaths of tribal members, including three in 2020 and one in 2018.

Today the Northern Cheyenne Tribe submitted this official letter to Senator Steve Daines , Senator Jon Tester and...

Posted by Lane Spotted Elk- Northern Cheyenne Tribal Council on Thursday, July 30, 2020

The tribal members who died under suspicious circumstances include: 1) Lonnie Flatness, an elder and retired Marine, violently murdered in his own home; 2) Christy Woodenthigh, a mother of three children who was run over and killed by a vehicle; 3) Kamani Littlebird, allegedly found hanging under suspicious circumstances and 4) in 2018, Henny Scott, age 18 found frozen to death under suspicious circumstances.

To date, there have been no investigative results, charges or prosecutions. The suspects remain at-large and these deaths have had a unsettling effect upon the small close-knit reservation community.

In its letter the Tribe complains about the lack of information provided to them or to the victim’s families. Small also expressed frustration about getting information from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

“They won’t answer me,” he said, “wanting everything in a Freedom of Information Act request forwarded to the Central Office.” Apparently, this applies to the Tribal Government as well.

Small was, however, able to ferret out some startling information. Normally with a B.I.A. force of about 12 officers, the Northern Cheyenne Agency is now down to a handful (five or less, including the Area Office which has two officers who can be dispatched daily to areas that are short-handed).

The Northern Cheyenne Agency has not been fully staffed since 2013 and Small wants to know where that savings went and if there is a contingency plan.


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Clara Caufield can be reached at

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